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C got this recipe from his mother. We had lots of strawberries left over from the allotment and decided to put them to good use. It makes a delicious cakey snack. And it’s really really easy too.

Ingrediants:

2 egg yolks

3/4 cups of plain flour

60 g butter

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 spoons of jam

A handful of strawberries

Directions:

1. Cream the sugar and the butter together til fluffy

2. Add the egg yolks and beat

3. Sift the flour into the mixture and slowly mix together

5. Gently knead the dough

6. Grease a flat cake tin and spread the dough inside

7. Bake at 220 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes

8. Boil the jam with a little bit of water

9. After taking out the shortcake in cake tin spread the strawberries on top and pour hot jam over the mixture.

10. Leave to cool and then eat! Yum yum.

Here is the final result:

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Allotments are amazing!

Just look at all the pretties we picked from my parents’ one:

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They’re a very British establishment. C finds the concept of them quite a bit amusing. You can read all about getting an allotment and what they’re about here.

Apparently we in the UK have a right to common land. If six people or more petition the local council demanding allotments they have to be granted some land to use. That’s amazing.

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I didn’t get around to posting about the duck race in Cheddar on the first of May. I just found the photos from it though and was compelled to add them. Just look! Cheddar Duck RaceDSC02297

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I just had another whack at making tea eggs and this time I took some pictures. Yay!! So I shall properly give you instructions for making your very own.

1. Hard boil some eggs (about ten minutes)

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2. Drain the eggs and then crack them by gently hitting them with a spoon.

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3. Put the eggs back in the saucepan and add some water.

4. Add loose leaf tea (black gives a better colour but you can use green for a slightly different flavour. Here I used both), soy sauce, cinnamon, anise and sugar. My method is just lobbing in whatever feels right but if you need measurements try about a 2 desertspoons of the tea and one of everything else.

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5. Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer for about an hour.

6. Take off the heat and leave to sit for about 5 hours. If you leave them overnight they’ll be even better.

7. Drain the eggs.

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8.Peel and eat. Yum.

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Oh they’re so pretty! I’m very proud of myself right now. Just look –

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Hay-on-Wye is the Promised Land to book lovers. My knees are still trembling with unabashed lust. It’s nestled in Powys, Wales and according to the town website has approximately 30 official bookshops. The majority of these are second-hand and the browsing opportunities are endless.

It’s a cute town made up of quaint cottages and Georgian houses. To be honest it’s so small I would have called it a village. There are a series of small interweaving streets packed, crammed with bookshops. I showed AMAZING restraint by only going into one. One! That’s practically a miracle in itself. Even more astounding is that I only bought ONE book and two prints. I’m sure the Gods swooned to see it. I limited myself to the Castle Bookshop (oh yes, located inside the castle). It was fabulous. My favourite part was the wall of cubby holes filled with sketches and prints cut out of old books. I bought two, both of gothic landscapes, which I shall frame and hang somewhere in my mythical flat.

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For 11 years now Hay-on-Wye has been hosting the Hay Literary Festival where authors, poets, comedians, musicians and generally artsy interesting people gather. The Independent describes it as ‘…a smorgasbord of heterogeneity, a mixumgatherum of creativity and gravitas…an excellent festival’. I have to agree.

C and I drove for about 2 and a half hours (I am not the world’s best DSC02311navigator, regularly getting us lost and then sinking into gloom crying ‘We’re doomed, we’re going to be eaten by dragons/lost forever/die) through Wales to get there. Note: if you need to cross the Severn Bridge into Wales you have to pay a toll (£5.40 for a car. Interestingly it’s free to leave Wales) and they don’t take cards. We’d bought tickets to see four shows. In order I shall discuss them below.

2.30pm :

John Polkinghorne and Nicholas Beale – Questions of Truth. 51 Responses to Questions about God, Science and Belief.

Polkinghorne was described by Beale as ‘very prudently not connected to the internet’ and this probably accurately demonstrates the differences between the two talkers. I found Polkinghorne the more interesting although he didn’t go deeply enough into his ideas. His arguments were weak due to his liberalism. His wish not to offend meant that his arguments didn’t really go anywhere. He talked of similarities between the quest for truth in science and religion.

Beale kept annoyingly drawing conclusions based mainly on what he wanted them to be. He tried to prove that determinism was false but his proof was inconclusive to my mind. His reasoning basically went along the lines of ‘the brain can’t be deterministic unless the whole universe is, which is impossible’. Is it impossible? Actually impossible? I don’t think so. Not just because you say it is Mr. Beale. His proof of this was to use a computer program showing balls bouncing off each other. Change the velocity of one and they all end up after 5 seconds in different places. Apparently this proves chaos. But are the two (chaos and determinism) mutually exclusive? I’m pretty sure the same experiment can be used to also prove determinism.

They both spoke well though and the Guardian Stage was full.

(Note inserted at a later date: Mr. Beale has kindly commented that he was discussing neuro-determinism specifically, NOT determinism as a whole. I may have misrepresented his ideas due to misunderstanding. However I am leaving the above as a representation of my impression from the lecture)

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4pm:

Adam WorkowskiJohn Paul II’s Philosophy of Love and Lust

For such a promisingly exciting title this event was a little disappointing. Workowski wasn’t confident enough about his English ability to talk without notes. Well, actually they weren’t notes. He basically just read out an essay. It was interesting but the delivery ruined it really.

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5.30pm:

John Micklethwait – God is Back: How the Global Rise of Faith Will Change the World

Very very interesting. Mickletwait discussed with Sarfraz Manzoor how his study shows global religion is having a revival. He made an interesting comparison between the UK and America saying that different religions are more successful in America because if the separation of church and state. This creates a free-market for religion and they battle it out with each other to win souls. Whereas in the UK they have the problem that if they criticize the COE it can seem they are also criticizing the government. It gave me lots to think about.

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7.30pm:

Anthony Horowitz talks to Paul Blezard on screenwriting

This was my favourite! Horowitz is so enthusiastic he was a joy to listen to. It’s like he sits at home building up great energy by writing stories which he then exploded all over the audience. It was juicy and I loved it.

He’s a fabulous storyteller. He told us wonderful anecdotes. He genuinely seems to love what he does and that was so refreshing and lovely to see. At one point he stressed he never considered himself an artist, all he wants to do is entertain. Which is lucky for us because he’s very good at it. As well as writing the Alex Rider books he’s also written Foyles War, Poirot, Midsommer Murders, Robin of Sherwood and many many other things. I’m in awe of him.

(the photo is blurry but I think it gives a good impression of the interview. Horowitz expressively used his hands the whole time and Blezard, as well as everyone else spent most of it laughing)

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In the Aviary in Hong Kong

In the Aviary in Hong Kong

In the park NEAR the aviary. A result of bird flu panic.

In the park NEAR the aviary. A result of bird flu panic.

Behind the door in a toilet cubicle.

Behind the door in a toilet cubicle.

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